The Workers' Compensation Boards (WCBs) in most, if not all of the provinces, recognize mesothelioma as an occupational disease and will compensate people who have been exposed in the workplace. In most provinces, if a worker was employed in a specific industry (listed in the relevant provincial laws) and develops mesothelioma, the disease is deemed to be due to the nature of the employment unless proven otherwise.
The industries typically covered by the various provincial laws include mining, milling, manufacturing, assembling, construction, refining, repair, alteration, maintenance or the demolition process involving the generation of airborne asbestos fibres. What this means is that if you worked in those industries and can establish that you had direct exposure to airborne asbestos while you were so employed, the WCB in your province can assume that it is THAT exposure that caused your mesothelioma. Some provinces have a mandatory minimum number of years of exposure, or latency (the period from exposure to the development of the condition) before entitlement will be granted.
If your claim is successful, expenses for accessing treatment (medications, in-home nursing care, parking for medical appointments, additional assistance required in the home due to illness) may be paid. If you need to equip your home to accommodate your changing physical abilities related to the illness, those expenses may also be paid. Additionally, monthly or lump sum payments may be made to compensate you (subject to restrictions that apply in some provinces to people over 65) or your spouse/dependants for lost income and loss of life.
Some treatments that are considered experimental may not be covered by private insurance; however they may be covered under a workers’ compensation claim. If you are concerned about getting medication that is not covered by government programs or private insurance, ask your doctor whether a Drug Access Facilitator or Patient Assistance Program may be available for you.
To link to the relevant legislation, policies, worker’s compensation board and important forms, click here.
Please Note: You may have a valid legal claim outside of the worker’s compensation available in your province (see the sections on the Compensation Trust Funds and Claims for Exposure outside Canada on this site). If you choose to pursue a claim through the relevant worker’s compensation board, you and/or your family will not be able to obtain additional compensation via these sources. Once you accept the decision of the applicable worker’s compensation board and receive payment from the board, your right to pursue such a claim is extinguished and passes to the board to pursue in order to recover the benefits paid to you.